Do you have a painful back problem that is resistant to non-surgical treatment methods? An anterior posterior lumbar fusion might be appropriate, particularly if your problem stems from fractured vertebrae, scoliosis, degenerative or protruding discs, slippage of vertebral bones or general spinal unsteadiness. Broadly speaking, this type of spinal surgery involves fusion of the front and back of two or more vertebrae in the lower back to create more stability to reduce pain.
Steps Involved with this Lumbar Surgery
The anterior posterior lumbar fusion is actually a two surgery combination. In the first part of the surgery, you will be on your back and the surgeon will make a large incision in the lower abdominal area. Your internal organs and muscles are gently nudged aside so that the surgeon can access the front portion of the vertebrae in your lower back. At this time, any damaged disc material is removed from the front part of the disc and a porous titanium cage is inserted as support. Next, bone grafts are attached to the titanium hardware. Once completed, your muscles and organs are placed back into position and your incision is closed up.
The second part of the anterior posterior lumbar fusion requires that you gently be turned over so the posterior lumbar vertebrae are accessible. The surgeon will then make a large incision to get to the affected vertebrae to clean away the remaining affected disc material so that another titanium cage and bone graft can be placed. The titanium cage is porous so that the bone graft can grow through it for optimal stability.
Because your lumbar spine is operated on both anterior and posterior sides, your hospital stay will be anywhere from four to seven days, depending on your body’s ability to bounce back and heal. Several days are necessary to monitor pain medication and verify initial stability of the fusion. In addition, your therapists and nurses in the hospital will be monitoring and guiding you on some basic movements such as getting out of bed on your own.
The complexity and seriousness of the surgery involves many variables of recuperation including monitoring bodily functions, testing blood gases and using pressure stockings or pneumatic boots on the legs to prevent blood clotting. Recovery from anterior posterior lumbar fusion is different for everyone so it is important to work closely with your doctor and other medical staff. While 100% pain elimination is not usually attainable, a successful procedure will ensure that you will eventually realize a greater reduction in pain.
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